Before yesterday, before we caught sight of it, we knew that we were going to have to play on a ghastly plastic football pitch. Ange’s disdain for the artificial surfaces was obvious in his pre-match interview. All of us feel the same way.
But what we actually saw yesterday, and what the players had to play on, was even more horrific than just what we had come to expect. It was patchy, un-watered and grotesquely dry. Appalling. These pitches should be outlawed anyway, but no club should be allowed to present for a major game with any surface, artificial or not, in such a state.
Clearly it was left like that to prevent us from doing our usual and zipping the ball around on it. It worked well, didn’t it? Obviously Ange had us practicing on the artificial surfaces at Lennontown in preparation for it; it was the best performance on one of those pitches that I’ve seen us turn in for a long, long time and it ended the nerves over them.
That might be the most important thing about yesterday; that it was the final exorcizing of old ghosts. We no longer have anything to fear from playing games on plastic. My mate said to me yesterday he thought that was the true significance of the Livingston win last season, and I think he was right. Yesterday proved it. We’re past that.
These have become as routine as any other away game, in spite of the best efforts of whoever was supposed to be “maintaining” that pitch yesterday for the purposes of playing football on it. The thing is, someone could have got injured on that disgraceful surface yesterday. I can’t be the only person whose only moments of fear came whenever one of our players went down on it.
We got lucky in that regard. In terms of demolishing Kilmarnock’s game plan, which involved letting that horrendous pitch go bad, that wasn’t lucky at all.